Holy show-ups! Batman is making a return to prime time television!
In 2013, producer Bruno Heller, along with Danny Cannon, created a weekly detective series based on the DC Comics run of Batman. The premise, summed up briefly, is a weekly prime-time soap opera (with each episode picking up where the last left off) populated by a cast of characters who, each with various reasons, slowly progress into the villains that are common stance of Batman comics. Here, Bruce Wayne is a young man and many years away from the crime-fighting exploits that we would come to know. Therefore, the events that unfold happen years before Bruce Wayne decides to become Batman. Hence why the program is titled, Gotham. It is gritty, violent and loaded with enough mystery for Detective Gordon to investigate the weird motives that he eventually writes off numerous times as “That doesn’t surprise me. This is Gotham.”
On the program we watch as Oswald Cobblepot develops political ambitions, Edward Nygma losing his job as a forensics scientist at the Gotham City Police Department and becoming a wanted criminal, and Selena Kyle applying cat burglar skills as she slowly develops feelings for young Bruce. Along the way, there is a triangle love with Detective Gordon, who eventually gets promoted to Commissioner Gordon, and who happens to be the investigative lead on the program.
Gotham premiered in September of 2014 with a few legal stipulations: the words “Batman,” “The Joker” and “Harley Quinn” could not be used on the program, along with The Joker’s trademarked green hair. Fox Entertainment President David Madden said that the show’s production team “have masterfully honored the mythology of Gotham and brought it to life with depth, emotion, and memorable high drama.”
To be honest, I was not impressed with the first season, but I understood the concept and what the producers were shooting for. With each passing season, as the characters became more villainous, the program, in my opinion, got better and better… proving that in the Batman universe, it is the villains that we cheer on — not the Caped Crusader. There was a smile on my face when Mad Hatter hypnotized an innocent couple and then smashed them flat with a wrecking ball. Crystal Reed was eye candy as Sofia Falcone. The actor playing Zsasz hits the mark without having to take off his jacket to reveal the scars we know all too well. It is rare that a television program gets better with each season and Gotham succeeded. But after four years it seems the ratings are less than half of what they were when the program premiered and Fox would not renew for a fifth season.
Producer Heller quickly begged the network for one final season. Everything leading to Bruce Wayne’s decision to dress in cape and cowl was leading to the fifth and final season. Executives at Fox eventually relented and a partial half-season was commissioned. Twelve episodes instead of the usual 22. And this season we have seen the birth of Bane, Arthur Penn (a.k.a. The Ventriloquist), Ivy Pepper’s acceptance of the power to control plants as Poison Ivy, and the origin of Magpie, Jane Doe, and other lesser-known Batman villains. But here lies the big surprise that leaked a few weeks ago: the five-year on-going story arc will finish with episode 11, to be televised on April 18. The final episode of the program, on the evening of April 25, will be a one-episode stand-alone adventure that takes place ten years later. Complete with cape and cowl, we will see the first live-action Batman on prime-time television since Adam West in 1966. Yep, The Joker, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Cat Woman, The Penguin and the entire gang will be facing off against the Caped Crusader.
So even if you have not watched Gotham over the past five years, set your DVRs to record Gotham on the evening of April 25 on Fox. To quote Harley Quinn, “This is gonna be fun, Puddin’…”